, Volume 134, Issue 2, pp 235–242 | Cite as

New data on the cytology of parthenogenetic weevils (Coleoptera, Curculionidae)



Parthenogenesis and, in particular, polyploidy are rare in animals. A number of cases, known among weevils, represent apomictic parthenogenesis—a reproductive mode in which eggs undergo one maturation division, the chromosomes divide equationally, and no reduction takes place. Among parthenogenetic weevils there are two diploids, 48 triploids, 18 tetraploids, six pentaploids, three hexaploids and one decaploid. Eight examined parthenogenetic species are triploids with 33 chromosomes of different morphology, confirming that triploidy is the most common level of ploidy in weevils. The karyotypes are heterogeneous with the presence of meta-, submeta-, subtelo- and acrocentric chromosomes. The C-banding method showed that only two species possess a large amount of heterochromatin visible as a band around the centromere during mitotic metaphase. This agrees with observations that weevils are characterized by a small amount of heterochromatin, undetectable in metaphase plates after C-banding. In three species an atypical course of apomictic oogenesis occurs with stages similar to meiosis, in which chromosomes form bivalents and multivalent clusters. This association of chromosomes probably represents the remnants of meiosis, although these events have nothing to do with recombination. The results support the hypothesis that the evolution of apomictic parthenogenesis in weevils has proceeded through a stage of automixis.


Coleoptera Curculionidae Chromosome number C-bands Karyotype Parthenogenesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorota Lachowska
    • 1
  • Maria Rożek
    • 1
  • Milada Holecová
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals Polish Academy of ScienceKrakówPoland
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

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